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Isidore is not only a chickenhead: Existentialism in <Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep>

on Wed Mar 28, 2018 10:07 pm
The notion that existence precedes essence basically states that we human beings live our lives, and that in turn defines what we truly are, not any idealized set of characteristics. This unique way of thinking of lives is very positive and encouraging, which pushes us to create our own meaning during the limited lifetime, place our own value on our acts, and win our individual freedom by hard work.

John Isidore is the character in the book that clearly defines the notion. As a chickenhead who had failed to pass the minimum mental faculties test, he seems xto be the person that no one wants to have relationship with. However, with his hard work and friendlessness to others, Isidore managed to have his job, driving a pickup and delivery truck for a false-animal repair firm, where he was accepted as a human. Besides that, Isidore impressed me by his great empathy towards other people. He is an active participant in the rituals of Mercerism who sincerely believes that all life, even that of androids, has value and everyone should be respected although most people disdain him. When noticing someone is going to be his neighbor, he immediately visited her and offered to help her with the furniture. His essence is not influenced by his existence as a chicken head. Instead, he eagerly seeks for his own meaning of his life.

With that being said, I believe that the Nexus-6 androids have essence. Some of them may be servants of humans, whose essence is to provide excellent service for the needs of humans while others may fight for their own lives and kill the humans that want to eliminate them. However, since they are created by humans, it’s hard to say whether their essence has already been set in advance or the androids can figure out their own understanding of what they want. I hope further reading can solve the problems.
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Re: Isidore is not only a chickenhead: Existentialism in <Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep>

on Thu Mar 29, 2018 11:37 am
We all agree that John Isidore is a representative character that fits the concept of "existence precedes essence". David provides us persuasive evidence and logical reasoning in his illustration. For instance, he successfully capture the characteristic of John Isidore which is his great empathy towards other people and lists several examples to support his statement. The most impressing sentence I think is "His essence is not influenced by his existence as a chicken head.". It definitely helps me to understand why essence is independent of existence and why human beings should develop their own meanings. David's post also makes me reconsider the question if androids can form their own essence. I used to believe that for androids it's impossible to figure out their own essence due to that they are programmed by human beings and they have settings for certain purposes. Perhaps I will also find the answer to this question by further reading.
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